Live Christmas Chorus to Pop Up at Hlavní Nádraží

The Czech Christmas Mass also commonly known as “Rybovka”, is an inherent part of the pre-Christmas season.

The church composition written in Czech by Jakub Jan Ryba retells the story of the announcement of Christ’s birth and the arrival of the shepherds to the manger.

The mass is set in the Czech environment and, thanks to its joyful and fresh atmosphere, it has enjoyed popularity among children and adults for over two hundred years.

The Rybovka na Hlaváku will once again take place at Prague’s main railway station (Hlavní nádraží) after a three-year hiatus caused by the coronavirus.

Dozens of musicians and singers will perform Česká mše vánoční (Czech Christmas Mass) on Friday 23 December. This will be the twentieth time the event has taken place.

The improvised orchestra, consisting of musicians who have volunteered to take part in the Facebook event, will be conducted by the well-known Czech conductor Lukáš Prchal.

The concert will start at 13:00 and last about an hour and a half. Admission is free.


Ryba composed his most famous work in 1796, a year after he managed to resolve a dispute over his teaching methods with the priest Kašpar Zachar.

He wrote the music to a Czech libretto of his own devising; It was his only “mass” composed to a Czech text, although several of his earlier pastoral masses included interpolations with Czech text. Ryba did not identify this mass in his list of compositions created from 1782 to 1798, mentioning rather only “seven pastoral masses, one of them in Czech.”

The autograph manuscript was lost; today only the title page is preserved intact. Some parts of the composition were performed separately as pastorales (pastorellas) and the text gradually adapted with changes in Czech.

Although Ryba created more than 1,000 compositions, his Czech Christmas Mass remains one of the few works by him performed regularly to date.

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